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By Mitchell Broughton
Coming into Tuesday night’s game at Rebel Field, the New Market Shockers were riding the longest win streak of the season at five games, scoring 50 runs during that stretch. That run and their offensive momentum, however, ended after a 4-1 loss to the Montezuma Braves.
In the early stages, there was quite the pitchers duel between the starters on the mound. New Market’s Hunter Enstminger went five scoreless innings for the first-place Shockers. The James Madison right hander struck out five and only allowed two hits and no walks in his longest outing of the season. On the other side, for Montezuma, Turner Ashby pitcher Grant Thomas made his first start of the season after a few rough outings earlier on for the Braves. In his three appearances in 2020, Thomas had only pitched a total of 3.2 innings with a 12.2 ERA. Last night, he pitched completely beyond his stats. In Thomas’ seven scoreless innings, he struck out four and gave up five hits; he was able to get his team out of some pinches, stranding seven Shockers on base.
Heading into the top of the sixth it was still scoreless between the two ball clubs. Two walks by Enstminger and a dropped fly ball by shortstop Frankie Ritter loaded up the bases for the Braves with no outs. Enstminger was able to strike out Jeremy Wagner in the next at bat, which put the game in the hands of his brother, Will Wagner. Wagner then took a fastball to deep right center, over the advertisement-plated wall at Rebel Field for a grand slam and the lead. That was Will Wagner’s only hit of the night, but it was one swing of the bat that changed the game and ultimately broke the Shockers’ win streak. The sixth was Enstminger’s last inning on the mound, he finished with eight strikeouts, three hits, two walks, and four earned runs.
During their win streak, New Market had five players batting over .400 in those games: Pearce Bucher, Nick Goode, Henry Delavergne, Matt House and Calvin Pastel. Those five players went just 3-19 during last night’s contest; the lone run for the Shockers came courtesy of Frankie Ritter in the bottom of the ninth.
New Market falls from first place, now sitting in third in the RCBL at 7-4. The Shockers travel down to Stuarts Draft tonight to take on the Diamondbacks. Montezuma improves to 5-7 and is currently on a two-game win streak. The Braves will go out to Elkton to take on the Blue Sox at Jackson Memorial Park. Both games, as always, are scheduled to start at 7:30.
FINAL: Montezuma 4 New Market 1. Winning pitcher: Grant Thomas (1-1). Losing pitcher: Hunter Enstminger (1-1). Saving pitcher: Kyle Armstrong.
Broadway takes sole possession of first place after defeating the Elkton Blue Sox 6-5 last night. Josh Jones and Chase DeLauter both had doubles for the Bruins and reigning pitcher of the year John Judy was back on the mound, going five innings and striking out six.
Derek Shifflett throws a complete game for Bridgewater, striking out 11 as the Reds take down Grottoes 6-3 at Ruritan Park in Montezuma. The Nicely brothers, Austin and Dylan, continue their performances at the plate for the Cardinals, sitting at #1 and #2 in the RCBL in hits — but it wasn’t enough to outdo the Reds.
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